9/11/10 where are we now?

As we begin the 10th year since the tragic events of September 11, 2001 how much has changed? How much stays the same?  I like to pause and remember this day, the fallen, to grieve our damaged city, to reflect about our country and it's loss with my beloved New Yorkers. But with all the talk about burning the Quran (Koran- popular American spelling), of fear rising over fear of tolerance and religious freedom, how can I silently remember without a huge pit in my stomach, with anger under my breath. How can we believe we have changed for the better?  Our country has a history of overcoming ignorance, persecution, bigotry, racism and sexism. Where tolerance and ultimately sacrifice has led to a society we'd like to believe is the most democratic, the most tolerant, the most advanced.  I the optimist have a heavy heart. Ground Zero is still a pit, a community center which would prove our acceptance and shared loss is being held up from being built by the same old bigotry and fear.

Let us remember those who died on September 11, 2001 but also those who died due to violence and wars created by the horrific cause and effect of those tragically fated 4 planes.  We can and must do better.  It is not with force that we kill force.  Why do we feel uncomfortable when hearing a belief that only love can end war. I do not believe, I know.  But what I also know is to change the dynamic from war to peace takes huge amounts of effort, faith and resources.  We have to believe and know that whatever we have done since 9/11/01 hasn't been working.

Let's try and make 2011 the year we begin to heal and consider more peaceful options than to ignite fear and ignorance.  Personally, I feel that the entire area called Ground Zero should be a memorial, a place to come and witness our possibilities while accepting and grieving our loss.  Let Cordoba Initiative build the community center in lower Manhattan. There has been so much resistance and fighting over the 'real estate value' that nothing is being accomplished and it's still an open wound, a construction tug of war. Let's not succumb to fear, but experience the best we have within ourselves to join together.  Today at the US Open, Rohan Bopanna of India and his doubles partner Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi of Pakistan are not just in the  semi-finals but are making history. They say "if they can be friends, so can their countries." They want to win to be able to share with their countries and the world that working together means finding commonality, letting the barriers down that keep us apart. I applaud them.

from the Cordoba Initiative website:

Why are you building “a mosque near Ground zero?”

Strictly speaking, it will not be a “mosque,” although it would have a prayer space on one of its 15 floors. At the beginning, no one considered the fact that Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf Abdul Rauf’s current mosque is 12 blocks from the Ground Zero site, while the Park51 Community Center location is only 2 and one-half blocks away.  We never discussed wanting to be close to Ground Zero; our goal was to find a good real estate opportunity for a community center.  51 Park seemed to fit the bill.

But why so close to Ground Zero?

We were always close to the World Trade Center.  Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf has been the Imam of a mosque twelve blocks from the Twin Towers for the last 27 years. American Muslims have been peacefully living, working and worshipping in this neighborhood all along and were also terribly affected by the horrific events of 9/11.

Here's my last years remembrance click here to read it.


on 2010-09-11 18:15 by NYC Subway Girl

am relieved to hear that the scheduled burning of the Koran has been cancelled today but with a disappointing caveat: under the condition that the Community Center not be built.  One step forward a thousand steps back.

On the positive side, in US Open tennis news:  the Bryan brothers edged Mr. Bopanna and Mr. Qureshi, 7-6, 7-6, to claim their record-setting 63rd doubles title. But in a moving address from center court, Mr. Qureshi pleaded for acceptance of his countrymen to loud applause. “Every time I come here I feel there’s a very wrong perception of Pakistan as a terrorist country,” he spoke into the microphone. “We want peace in this world as much as you guys want.”  (excerpt from Wall Street Journal)